Paella

Dare I call this dish paella? Well this Spanish inspired rice dish is a regular dish in our house.

I diced a red onion, red pepper and mushrooms. In a hot large frying pan, I put some olive oil and I cooked off some smoked pancetta bacon. 

I then added the diced onion and pepper. When this was softened, I added 250g of paella rice. I ensured that this was then coated with the peppers and onions in the pan. I let this cook for a minute or so before adding a jar of paella paste from Waitrose. 

After stirring in the paste I added some chicken stock. Stirred once and left it to cook.

Before serving I added some cooked sliced chorizo and chunks of lemon.

I served it with some pan fried tuna steaks.

Preparado paella con caldo

On holiday in Spain recently I picked up this Alteza pack from the freezer at Dialprix.

Preparado paella alteza con caldo

I thought it was frozen paella. It wasn’t, it was a paella mix, with the ingredients for paella and included broth, but no rice!

With a small self-catering kitchen I had a go though, using some cooked long grain rice, instead of proper paella rice.

The mix was defrosted in the fridge and then cooked in a pan, before adding the rice and the broth and cooking for a little longer.

Preparado paella con caldo

Obviously if I could have used proper rice, it probably would have been better. It was certainly interesting, but even though I didn’t cook it for as long as indicated on the instructions, I still think the seafood was overcooked.

Squid Ink Paella

When I was down in Ealing at La Rueda Tapas Bar in Ealing I was initially tempted by the paella choices they had, including a squid ink paella. In the end we had tapas. I would have liked to try a squid ink paella.

Recently I was working in Bristol, and went for a walk at lunchtime with a plan on getting something to eat. It was a Thursday so I headed out to the Temple Quay Market. Didn’t really fancy anything from the market, so I headed to the St Nicholas Market. It was rather busy. In the end I headed down towards La Lola for some squid or paella.

I was impressed to see that La Lola have expanded their menu and one of the choices was a squid ink paella. Well it was bit of a no-brainer, so I decided to try out their dish.

As with previous visits, I was given a warm welcome, I ordered my paella and took a seat. It arrived quite quickly, with some aioli and a slice of lemon.

You have to say that the dish is very black, very black indeed.

I have to say that it doesn’t look that appetising, however it was very tasty. There was squid and prawns in the rice.

I am not sure I would have it again, but I am glad I tried it and it was good.

Paella problem

Authentic “Paella"

Made a paella this evening, using my usual technique, but when we came to eat it, it didn’t taste quite right. Couldn’t quite put my finger on it and then I remembered that I hadn’t added any stock to the dish. I had just used some water. I was quite surprised by how much the stock added, and how different the paella was when it was missing.

Rice with Chorizo

I diced a red onion and a red pepper. 

In a hot large frying pan, I put some olive oil and I cooked off some smoked pancetta bacon. 

I then added the diced onion and pepper. When this was softened, I added 250g of paella rice. I ensured that this was then coated with the peppers and onions in the pan. I let this cook for a minute or so before adding a jar of paella paste from Waitrose. 

After stirring in the paste I added some chicken stock. Stirred once and left it to cook.

Before serving I added some chopped fresh parsley and some cooked sliced chorizo.

Authentic “Paella”

Having upset Spain with my last paella, sorry Spanish inspired rice dish, I decided that the next time I cooked a Spanish inspired rice dish I would follow (at least) some of the unwritten rules of paella.

The end result I think looked quite authentic.

Authentic “Paella"

In preparation I diced a red onion, yellow pepper, and red pepper. 

In a hot large frying pan, I put some olive oil and I cooked off some smoked pancetta bacon. This isn’t in the list of ingredients in the unwritten rules of paella, so broke one rule there.

I then added the diced onion and pepper. When this was softened, I added 250g of paella rice. I ensured that this was then coated with the peppers and onions in the pan. I let this cook for a minute or so before adding a jar of paella paste from Waitrose. So another rule broken.

After stirring in the paste I added some chicken stock. Stirred once and left it to cook.

No prawns, no chorizo, just rice. Also no chicken either!

The unwritten rules of paella

paella

The Guardian reports on how researchers in Valencia have decided what ten ingredients you can use in paella are.

The ten permitted ingredients are: rice, water, olive oil, salt, saffron, tomato, flat green beans, lima beans, chicken and rabbit. 

Note that there is no fish or shellfish. Ever!

The research was carried out by social scientists at the Universidad Católica de Valencia at the instigation of local chef Rafael Vidal. The researchers questioned 400 amateur chefs aged over 50 from 266 Valencian villages.

Now I like making paella inspired rice dishes that include chorizo and seafood, even though this sometimes upsets Spaniards.

The article talks about how the valencianos believe that only they know how to make paella.  

To people in Valencia, their version of paella is the version and nothing else is worthy of the name. 

As for other kinds of paella they think this isn’t paella.

The typical seafood paella encountered elsewhere in Spain is generally dismissed by valencianos as arroz con cosas (rice with things).

So I cook rice with things….

Not very impressed

Noticed on the Twitter that my tweet of my Instagram photo of my rice dish had been noticed by quite a few people from Spain. They were, to say the least, not very impressed.

Best comment so far…

“I have seen rice that would make a goat vomit.”

This one made me chuckle

“if it doesn’t have pineapple, it’s not paella”

Time for a Spanish inspired rice dish

paella

Well we call this paella, but I know it isn’t paella, but it was inspired by paella.

This is a regular dish in our household and this pan of paella was finished off at dinner time.

What goes into the pan, depends on what we have in the house and whether I have been shopping or not. If I am out of the shops knowing that I am going to cook paella, then I will probably buy some cooking chorizo, some squid, and maybe even other kinds of seafood such as langoustine or clams. This time was what we had in the house.

This serves about four people

In preparation I diced a red onion and a large pepper. Well actually I diced half a red pepper and half an orange pepper.

In a hot large frying pan, I put some olive oil and I cooked off some smoked pancetta bacon and a small amount of diced (dry) chorizo. I then added the diced onion and pepper. When this was softened, I added 250g of paella rice. I ensured that this was then coated with the peppers and onions in the pan. I let this cook for a minute or so before adding a splash of white wine (we had that in the fridge). Recently I have been using some Spanish sherry I got from Aldi for Christmas, but that was all finished off the last time I did paella, sorry Spanish inspired rice.

I then (cheated and) added a jar of paella paste from Waitrose. In the past I have used herbs, spices and saffron when making paella, however I do like the jar that Waitrose do as it does taste quite authentic and is quick and easy. Tesco use to do a sachet of paella herbs and spices, but they’ve stopped selling that now. I use to prefer that. 

After stirring in the paste I added some chicken stock. Last time I did paella I used a fish stock, but didn’t have any of that in the cupboard.

Stir once and then leave. 

I once got “told off” by a Spaniard for stirring my paella, so now I just as advised, leave it to cook.

In a separate pan I cooked off the remaining dried chorizo I had sliced, I also added some sliced linguiça sausage from Lidl I had picked in their Iberian week recently. In previous Spanish themed weeks Lidl have done some nice cooking chorizo which I have liked using in my paella dishes. This time though in their most recent week they didn’t do it, hence picking up the linguiça sausage. Not quite a replacement, but worked well with the paella.

We had some cooked prawns in the fridge, so I warmed them up in a pan with some olive oil and mixed herbs.

The prawns, chorizo and lemon slices were added to the top of the paella, with some chopped flat leaf parsley and served.

Overall, delicious.

Time for some seafood paella

I was thinking about some lunch so I made my way to St Nicholas Market in the heart of Bristol. I did consider getting some barbecue from Low and Slow, but they had a really big queue. In the end I headed to La Lola with a plan to try their paella. When I got there I was nearly swayed by the calamari, but said to myself that I was going to have the paella, so I ordered the seafood paella.

The staff were friendly and welcoming, and I took a seat by the window and waited for my food.

It arrived just a few minutes later, it looked great and was a decent sized portion as well. I only wish when eating in that La Lola would serve their food on plates (or in bowls).

seafood paella

At first, I did think there wasn’t much seafood, but as I dug into the rice there were prawns, mussels and squid. I did like the taste of the paella, which was delicious, though I did think it could have had less salt. There was a whole prawn in the dish which needed to be shelled, but they did provide a lemon wipe which meant it was less messy than it could have been.

As I ate three Spanish women came and sat down on the chairs next to me and started talking to each other in Spanish. I did think if Spanish people were eating here then the food must be pretty authentic. I know the staff are Spanish, but with Spanish clientele as well, they must be doing something right.

Will I visit again, of course.